As it appeared in the Daily Nation on July 10th, 2018
By Lucy Kiruthu
Is your customer experience the same as that of others in your industry? Is your business using the customer experience to differentiate itself from others? Do your customers find the experience they go through better or worse than that of your competitors? Do you know that you can use customer experience to differentiate your business and make it more attractive?
In the world of business today, customer experience is considered a great differentiator. Most products and services that organizations have to offer are very similar in quality. The price differences are minimal and the cheapest products and services do not always attract customers. To stay ahead, smart businesses must rethink their end-to-end customer experience, they must be intentional about their overall customer experience, and they must provide an experience that is worthy coming back for. Unfortunately, many of our local businesses are not very clear about their desired customer experience. They have left the experience to chance; today it is exceptional, and tomorrow it is awful!
To differentiate your business through the customer experience successfully, the leadership and the staff must be fully involved. On one hand, the leadership must show the way and their commitment to the customer must be evident. They must be involved in pre-defining the experience that their customers should go through. The leadership must also create an environment that is customer focused and one where great experiences are the order of the day. On the other hand, the staff must be ready and willing to make the desired customer experience a reality. The staff are crucial in making it happen, without their involvement, no business can succeed in using customer experience to differentiate itself. The staff have a major responsibility in making the customer feel welcomed, respected and appreciated at every point of interaction.
Using customer experience to differentiate your business also requires an in-depth focus on the processes that customers go through to get a product or a service. Today, customers want simple, painlessness and swift processes. Customers do not want to wait, they do not want to call, and they do not want to be taken round in circles. Customers want to have access to as much information as possible. They want to make informed decisions. I still get surprised that one has to find out the price of an item displayed for sale. In other cases, one has to call or visit an organization to get basic information that should be displayed its website. To differentiate our businesses through customer experience, we need to relook at our businesses from the customers’ viewpoint.
To different yourself using customer experience, start by listening to what your staff and customers are saying. Their insights will surprise you! In addition, study what other companies are doing. We have many leading global brands that we can learn from. Amazon.com has great lessons on painlessness processes; Ritz Carlton and Disney Land have lessons on absolute obsession with the small details in the customer experience. To stay ahead and survive in a competitive market place, smart businesses have no option but to make their customer experience a point of differentiation.
Lucy Kiruthu is a Management Consultant and Trainer connect via twitter @KiruthuLucy